Many famous leaders lived at 150 Beacon St.

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
150 Beacon St. was home to two governors and other notable Boston residents.

150 Beacon St. is a Back Bay building with a fascinating history. According to, it was originally built around 1860 as the home of Barnabas Thayer Loring and his wife, Phebe Farnum (Southwick) Loring. Barnabas Loring was a boot and shoe manufacturer and wholesale leather merchant.

According to Back Bay Houses, the house was originally numbered 125 Beacon, but re-numbered as 150 Beacon around 1862 when homes were built on the south side of the street.

The Lorings continued to live at 150 Beacon until about 1870 when they moved to Braintree.

On Nov. 10, 1871, tea merchant Horace Dudley Hall purchased 150 Beacon from Barnabas Loring.

On the day of the sale, Hall turned around and sold the building to Andrew Robeson, Jr., a textile mill owner and abolitionist in Fall River, who, along with his wife, Mary (Allen) Robeson, settled into their new home with two of their unmarried children – Andrew Robeson, III and Mary Allen Robeson.

In November 1873, Mary Allen Robeson married Charles Sprague Sargent, a horticulturalist and the first director of the Arnold Arboretum. After their wedding, they lived in Brookline.

After Andrew Robeson, Jr. died in July 1874, 150 Beacon was inherited by his three children.

Mary Robeson continued to live at 150 Beacon with her son, Andrew, a cotton manufacturer. On April 26, 1878, the son mortgaged his one-third interest in the home to his maternal grandfather, Zachariah Allen, and three years later, married and moved away.

On May 5, 1880, Alice (Robeson) Thayer and Mary (Robeson) Sargent sold their interests in 150 Beacon to John Lowell Gardner, Jr. On the same day, Zachariah Allen foreclosed on his mortgage to Andrew Robeson III and sold the property to real estate dealer Henry Winsor, Jr., who then transferred it to John L. Gardner, Jr.

John L. Gardner, Jr., and his wife, the famed Isabella (Stewart) Gardner, lived at 152 Beacon (a wedding present from her father), and soon after acquiring 150 Beacon they combined the two houses, with the address of 150-152 Beacon. Isabella collected rare books and manuscripts, beginning with early editions of Dante. According to the

According to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website (, in 1884, Isabella and Jack Gardner first visited the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice. It was “a Venetian palace owned by Bostonians Daniel and Ariana Curtis. The palazzo became the gathering place of a group of American and English expatriates, including the painters John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, and Ralph Curtis, and the art connoisseur Bernard Berenson. Palazzo Barbaro became a major source of inspiration for Isabella in the creation of her museum in Boston.”

On Jan. 4, 1897, John L. Gardner, Jr. transferred 150 Beacon to his wife, Isabella. After her husband died, she moved to the newly built Fenway Court museum and residence.

On June 9, 1904, Eben Sumner Draper purchased the two houses (150 and 152) and razed them.

A new home at 150 Beacon was designed by architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. and constructed in 1904-1905 by Frank L. Whitcomb for Eben Sumner Draper and his wife, Nannie (Bristow) Draper.

Eben Sumner Draper was a manufacturer of cotton machinery in the firm founded by his father in Hopedale. He served as Lt. Governor of Massachusetts in 1906-1908, and as Governor in 1909 and 1910.

On October 5, 1909, less than five years after the home was completed, 150 Beacon was engulfed in a major fire which destroyed the entire interior, leaving only the walls intact.

The house was rebuilt under the direction of the original architect and builder.

On March 15, 1920, 150 Beacon was purchased from Dorothy (Draper) Gannett (who had inherited the estate after the death of her mother and father) by Flora Anabella (Tufts) Fuller, the widow of Alvan Bond Fuller.

150 Beacon became the home of Flora Fuller’s son and daughter-in-law, Alvan Tufts Fuller and Viola (Davenport) Fuller.

Alvan Tufts Fuller was an automobile dealer, the first distributor of Packards in New England. In 1914, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving from 1916 to 1920. He subsequently was elected Lt. Governor and, in 1924, he defeated Boston Mayor James Curley for Governor. He was reelected in 1926.

Prior to their marriage in 1910, Viola Davenport had performed in the “debutante series” of the Boston Opera, making her debut in “Lakmé” on Nov. 20, 1909.

On Dec. 4, 1930, Flora Fuller transferred 150 Beacon to Viola Fuller. Alvan Fuller died in April 1958, and Viola Fuller died 15 months later in August 1959.

On Jan. 26, 1960, 150 Beacon was acquired from Viola Fuller’s estate by Norman Saul Rabb (Nathaniel Rabinovitz), vice president of Stop and Shop grocery stores (founded by his father, Joseph Rabinovitz), and his wife Eleanor Ruth (Epstein) Rabb.

Emerson College acquired the home on Apr, 14, 1961 and converted the property from a single-family dwelling into dormitory and dining quarters. In July 1976, the school used the upper floors as a library.

On Sept. 27, 1999, Emerson College sold 150 Beacon to 150 Beacon Associates LLC (Enrique Darer, manager of record) and sold 148 Beacon to Joseph T. Doyle, Jr., trustee of the 148 Beacon Street Realty Trust. The properties were then separated from each other. 150 Beacon Associates filed to convert the property into seven apartments.

On March 1, 2001, 150 Beacon Associates LLC converted 150 Beacon into six units, and formed the 150 Beacon Street Condominium.

Currently, 150 Beacon St., Unit 3 is available for sale. Duncan Donahue of Keller Williams Realty – Donahue Realty Group has this fine home listed for $7,495,000. Learn more at

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